The remarks from firefighters about the Blitz remind us what a terrific job our fire service did then. The 1991 high grossing movie BackDraft was the most popular film ever made about the fire services. It starred Robert de Niro and Kurt Russell, (his best part ever), and won 3 Academy nominations.
This powerful movie shows the true heroism of firefighters, and the guts with which they risk their lives without hesitation to protect the public. The most emotional scene shows Kurt Russell hanging from a high up railing, trying to save another fireman from raging flames beneath. The young fireman can’t hold on. He is about to fall, when Kurt shouts out “If you go…. we go!” And galvanised, the young chap hurls himself upwards and is hauled to safety.
In a cruel credit crunch, Boris Johnson and our leaders have to take horrible decisions. Fires are down by 50% over 10 years, some fire engines are only used 16% of the time, but costs remain the same. We had 112 fire stations and the Mayor has closed 10. Safety has been checked to the utmost extent with fire chief Ron Dobson. Central heating, efficient smoke alarms, fire retardent furniture and oven chips have negated the need for a large fire service.
If you believe in astrology, which I am sure firemen don’t, you learn than change is inevitable. The more you fight it, the more you are hurting yourself. Although there are no compulsory redundancies, (transfers and voluntary redundancies only, confirms James Cleverly), we need a smaller fire service. If you go……… we go! we will only survive if we all stick together. In a wider context, that means looking at the bigger picture and accepting changes that may hurt, but will benefit everyone.